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Let's Talk About the Weather

A freak storm grounds all flights.

Turned back and trudging,

I fall in step with another terminated traveler

On his way to give a paper, he says, at MMLA—that is Midwest Modern Languages—

On the difference between cosmopolite and migrant.

One is Tony Bourdain, or Obama,  bon vivant in shirtsleeves.

tipping bottles in a Hanoi noodle shack,

The other one washes dishes in the back,

Or waits even now in yellow cabs to drive us back through the gloom and muck

Of what will become an epic cluster—trucks and trees askew

Like forgotten toys, a bus of special-needs toddlers 

From Harlem winding through the Bronx well past midnight—

Hard roads, riven by need, far from home. 

One globe, but some die crossing. 

One day some years ago my phone died

And I got lost on foot.  

Somewhere between boroughs,

A freezing night, no cabs, I came to a Gulf

And asked a man sweeping the way. He shook his head

And said, I just got to this country last week.   

Which one are you, I ask my fellow traveler. One on the way to the other, he said,

Immigrant, now scholar, husband, father. 

I swallowed. Storms like these will displace millions,

I said like this was a family secret. Yet we fly,

For money and for resume. This is madness. I’m embarrassed to ask  

Can we be stopped?  

by Anya Kamenetz

Anya Kamenetz is originally from New Orleans but is currently living in Brooklyn. She is a correspondent for NPR, a sought-after speaker, and an authority on education. Her newest book, The Art of Screen Time (PublicAffairs, 2018), is a guide for families in the digital age. You can link to her website here,